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Alice Walker 21, Us 16, Celie 15, Israel 11, U.s. 8, Washington 6, Palestine 6, D.c. 5, New York 4, Iran 4, Amy Goodman 4, Sofia 4, Steven Spielberg 3, America 3, Fiction 3, Minneapolis 3, California 3, Desmond Tutu 3, Florida 3, Womanism 3,
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  WHUT    Democracy Now    Series/Special. Current  
   Events & News in the World  

    September 28, 2012
    6:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

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09/28/12 09/28/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> on the road in washington, d.c., this is "democracy now!" >> dear god, i am 14 years old. i have always been a good girl. maybe you can give me a sign and the man know what is happening to me. >> the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking novel, "the color purple." about the struggle for empowerment and liberation, we spend the hour with its legendary author, the first african-american woman to win the pulitzer prize for fiction, legendary author, poet and
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activist, alice walker. >> a lot of things and "the color purple," happen to my family long before i was born. my grandmother was murdered by a man who wanted to be her lover. >> we will also speak with alice walker about her longtime support for the rights of palestinians. last summer, she is one of the activists on the freedom flotilla and a challenging israel's embargo of the gaza strip. >> we actually tried to cross the water to get to the people of gaza, especially to the children, who need to know that the world is here in the world cares and the world sees. a lot of us love them and we do not agree that they should be brutalized and harm. >> and with less than 40 days to go before the presidential election, alice walker will read her new poem, "democratic womanism." >> you ask me why i smile when
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you tell me you intend in the coming national election to hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. there are more than two evils out there is one reason, i smile. >> all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we're on the road in washington, d.c. an attack of a prison in the iraqi city of tikrit has killed at least a dozen people and freed more than 80 prisoners. reports on the details varied. at a local official told the associated press prisoners had seized weapons from a prison store room, while other sources said militants attacked from the outside. a gun battle reportedly stretched for at least eight hours before authorities regained control. the prison houses inmates with ties to al qaeda, and some were
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awaiting execution. a gunman opened fire thursday inside a minneapolis sign making business, killing four people and wounding several others before turning the gun on himself. three others were critically wounded. there are reports the shooter was a former employee of the business who had been laid off thursdaearlier in the day. it follows a rash of other mass shootings in u.s. this year, and the latest act of violence involving a shooter with reported financial difficulties. the laid-off worker who killed a former co-worker outside the empire state building in nyc last month was reportedly facing eviction. two weeks before that, a man in college station, texas opened fire on a constable bringing him an eviction notice, killing two people before being fatally shot by police. minneapolis mayor -- the minneapolis mayor spoke after the shootings thursday.
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>> we are deeply, deeply sorry about what has happened here. the employees are together and are being cared for. the neighborhood, as i mentioned, is secure and will be returning to relative calm, but obviously we have a horrible crime scene we will be dealing with over time. >> the california man reportedly behind an anti-islam video that sparked global protests has been arrested and accused of violating the terms of his probation from a prior conviction for financial crimes. aquila basseley nakoula was ordered held without bail thursday after federal judge deemed him a flight risk. court documents show nakoula had used at least 17 aliases following a 2010 check fraud conviction, he was forbidden under the terms of his probation from using computers or the internet without permission from his probation officer.
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meanwhile, an actress who says she was deceived about the nature of this, did not realize it was anti-islam is suing nakoula in federal court. the coalition leaders in greece say they've reached a basic outline for an austerity package required to win over international lenders. the plan includes tax hikes as well as $15 billion in cuts to pensions, salaries, and government spending. the proposal comes on the heels of mass anti-austerity protests in greece amidst a general strike earlier this week. spain has announced its own plans for austerity cuts and tax hikes in a bid to strip $50 billion from next year's budget. spain's austerity plans have also sparked a massive backlash with protesters launching an occupied congress' action earlier this week. the united nations refugee agency is warning up to 700,000 refugees could flee syria by the end of the year amidst mounting
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violence between the government of president bashar al-assad and rebels opposed to his regime. the u.n.'s new forecast is nearly quadruple the previous estimate from june. hundreds of thousands of refugees have already fled into neighboring countries including turkey and lebanon during the 18-month conflict. will the donors pledged thursday to give at least $10 million to democratic super pacs in the lead up to the 2012 election. billionaire george soros is promising to give $1 million to the pro-obama super pac priorities usa action. the former hedge fund manager also plans to donate half a million dollars to a pair of super pacs supporting democratic candidates for congress. even with the latest round of pledges, contributions by soros this cycle will pale in comparison to some donors on the republican side. casino magnate sheldon adelson has pledged to spend up to $100
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million to defeat president obama and the democrats this year. president obama and republican challenger mitt romney each campaign thursday in the hotly contested battleground state of virginia. both candidates attempted to court virginia's large population of military voters. in an address in the military town of virginia beach, obama called for what he termed "economic patriotism." >> during the campaign season you hear a lot about patriotism. well, you know what? it is time for an economic patriotism. in economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class. >> mitt romney spoke at an american legion hall in springfield, virginia, not far from the pentagon. romney criticized obama over potential defense cuts and vowed to maintain u.s. military power.
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>> we're going to make sure to restore the principles this nation was built upon a freedom and opportunity and restore our economy and put people back to work, get rising take-home pay again. we're going to make sure we of the military that a second to none. i will do those things. i look forward to being able to keep the station strong. i make that commitment to you. i need your help. we have to win in virginia. we will keep america the hope of the earth. >> a new video has raised questions about mitt romney's repeated claims on the campaign trail that his business background would help him create jobs as president. the video released by the magazine "mother jones" shows romney in a 1985 address describing the mission of bain capital, the private equity firm he co-founded and formerly ran, saying the goal is to harvest companies for profit. >> bain capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in startup companies and
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ongoing companies, take an active hand in managing them and hopefully five to eight years, harvest them at a significant profit. >> in battle as are congressmember and senate candidate todd akin is again drawing criticism for sexist remarks after claiming democratic opponent senator claire mccaskill was more " ladylike" in a previous election six years ago. he drew a massive backlash and calls to drop out of the race against clair mccaskill after remarking women rarely become pregnant from what he termed a legitimate rape. despite the criticism, he has remained in the race past a deadline earlier this week to remove himself from the ballot. his bid to unseat mccaskill is one of the most closely watched senate races this year. florida has resumed its controversial efforts to purge voters from the rolls less than six weeks before the november election. officials in florida recently said they had used a federal immigration database to identify
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about 200 non-citizen voters. that number marked a significant downgrade from florida's initial claim of nearly 200,000 possible non-citizen voters that was later reduced to a few thousand read the names of about 200 supposed non-citizens have been sent to local election officials, but there's evidence even people on that list are citizens who mistakenly been targeted. "the miami herald" reports one latino immigrant ended up on the purge list even though he'd already sent proof of citizenship to officials during the first round of voter purging this summer. the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu is drawing widespread attention for his speech before the united nations general assembly thursday when he literally drew a red line over iran's nuclear program. netanyahu has repeatedly called for a red line that would trigger military action against iran if crossed. during his address, netanyahu pulled out a cartoonish diagram of a bomb with a fuse to help
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illustrate iran's alleged progress toward a nuclear weapon. >> this is a bomb. this is a fuse. in the case of terrance nuclear plants to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium and iran has to go through three stages by next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates. they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. from there is only a few months, possibly a few weeks, before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb. a red line should be drawn right here. before we run completes the
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second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb. >> prime minister netanyahu has made previous claims about the supposed urgency of iran's unclear plans in a bid to spur u.s.-led international action. in 1992, netanyahu said that iran was just three to five years from developing a nuclear weapon. iran has repeatedly said its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. responding to nesting on the's speech, iran said it is strong enough to defend itself and reserved the right to retaliate if attacked. also speaking before the u.n. general assembly thursday, palestinian president abbas condemned israel over israel's settlements in the occupied territories, saying more than 500 settler attacks had been carried out on palestinians since the beginning of the year. abbas also vowed to continue seeking non-member status at the united nations for palestine.
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in his condemnation of israeli government policy, abbas and of the term nakba, or catastrophe, which refers to the peruod rep is a declaration of statehood in 1948 when hundreds of thousands of palestinians were displaced from their homes. >> is really refuses to in the occupation and allow the palestinian people to attain their rights and freedom, and rejects the establishment of the state of palestine. israel is promising the palestinian people a new catastrophe, a new nakba. >> a new report finds u.s. drugmakers have paid $6.6 billion in penalties and fees to settle fraud allegations this year, already doubling what they paid last year. the advocacy group public citizen said the increased fees and penalties are still not
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enough to make a dent in drug company profits or to curb alleged behavior ranging from overcharging medicare to encouraging the prescription of drugs for unsanctioned uses. in july, glaxosmithkline settled for a record $3 billion over fraud charges, including allegations it fell to report key safety data on a diabetes drug linked to heart risks. the natural from goldman sachs has agreed to pay nearly 12 in dollars to settle civil charges one of its executives gave campaign services to a massachusetts public official in exchange for business. the securities and exchange commission said former goldman vice president morrison used company resources to campaign for massachusetts treasurer timothy cahill, who made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010. goldman failed to report the activities and went on to earn more than $7.5 million from the state's bond deals. the u.s. environmental
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protection agency is proposing tough standards for federal cleanup of the toxic material asbestos in a move that could impact contaminated sites across the country. the proposal relates to the mining town of libby, montana, where hundreds died after breathing asbestos dust from the mining of vermiculite, a mineral used in insulation, fireproofing material, and other products. cleanup efforts in libby are still under way and of costly $450 million over more than a decade. the epa's new standard for asbestos is 5000 times stricter than the one used for earlier cleanups. new research shows student debt has reached a record high in the u.s., with nearly one in five households now burdened by debt from college loans. according to the pure research center, the number of households with college debt doubled from 1989 to 2010 and jumped 15% over just three years from 2007 to
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2010. researchers found the poor are most heavily burdened by college debt, with student loans consuming nearly a quarter of household income for the poorest 20% of americans. and those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are on the road in washington, d.c. we're on our 100-city election 2012 silent majority tour. we are headed to charlottesville virginia tonight. today and a "democracy now!" special, we spend the hour with the legendary author, poet and activist alice walker. she's the first african-american woman to be awarded the pulitzer prize for fiction. she won it in 1983 for her renowned novel, "the color purple." the novel also won the national book award for fiction and was later adapted into a film and musical by the same name. on the 30th anniversary of the book's publication, we will talk
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about its lasting legacy. set mainly in rural georgia in the 1930's, the book tells the story of a young, poor african- american woman named celie and her struggle for empowerment in a world marked by sexism, racism, and patriarchy. in 1985, "the color purple" was adapted into a film directed by steven spielberg and starring whoopi goldberg, danny glover, and oprah winfrey. in this clip, two of the main characters have a tense exchange: a strong, independent woman named sofia tells long abused celie that she's struggled all her life and will let anyone beat her down. >> all my life i had to fight. i had to fight my daddy. i had to fight my uncles. i had to fight my brothers. girl, child a save in a family mens.f
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i love harpo, god knows i do, but i kill him dead before i let him touch -- >> is that a footprint question >> no, sir. no, sir. >> do you want a dead son-in- law, miss celie was recce keep advising him like you do. >> as the novel is based -- we are joined by the renowned author alice walker to further discuss the legacy. we will also speak about other writings, social and political activism in support of the palestinians and about the coming presidential election. alice walker, welcome to "democracy now!" it is great to be with you. yesterday your before a crowd of about 1200 people in the audience at the fall for the book festival in arlington, virginia. you read from "the color
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purple," and talked about its importance. tell us on this 30th anniversary this year, your thoughts about what brought you to write this work. >> i wanted to spend more time with my grandparents and they had died long ago. and my parents. so i set out to write a book in which i could literally live for year or two and be with them by creating characters who resembled them and by giving them a life they might have had, that in fact, many of them did not have. >> for especially young people who may not have seen -- deftly have probably heard of "the color purple," but may not have read it, lay out the story. >> it is about celie who was abused by her stepfather. she lost her own father who was lynched. this is part of the story that is rarely talked about, that her own father was winched because
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he was a successful as a businessman in the south. when black people were not supposed to be successful. then she became the victim of her stepfather and raped. she had two children. they were taken away from her and ended up in africa with her sister who had gone there as a missionary's helper. basically, it is the struggle of someone who thinks she has no voice and has noetters to god be she is no one else to write to. then she discovers the god she's writing to is deaf, because he's basically the christian god that has been imposed on black people. at that point, she starts writing to her sister. eventually, she understands divinity is all around us and we are a part of it, and it is in nature.
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>> i want to turn to another clip from the film, "the color purple." celie finally stands up to rise and he simply goes by the name "mr.." >> until you do right by me, everything you think about is [indiscernible] whatn't trade places with i have been through. come on, let's go to the car. >> he ain't worth it. he ain't worth it. >> who do think he is? you are black, poor, of the, a woman. you are nothing at all. >> you do right by me. everything you even think about is going to fail. >> there you have it, that scene describe it for our listeners and viewers, alice
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walker. >> celie basically curses mr. and all the masters in the world and says to them come into you do right by me, meaning herself as a person, but also as the earth, everything you do will crumble and everything you do will fail. it is prophetic in that sense. she somehow knows this. it comes very strongly to her that this is true, that unless people are doing right by the downtrodden and the poor of the world and women, generally, they are doomed. our culture, our society, our world is doomed. >> and many have the amazing shug avery. i want ask about the title of your novel. first, let's go to shug, who mentions the color purple and her conversation with celie. >> more than anything god loves admiration.
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>> are you saying god is vain quest regrets not vain, just wanted to share a good thing. i think it passes got off if you walk by the color purple and don't notice it. >> are you saying is just want to be loved like a say in the bible? >> yes, celie. everything want to be loved. saying and danced and holler. just trying to be loved. >> shug talking to celie. >> and she is explaining to celie that the beauty of nature is what reminds us of what is divine, that we are already in heaven, really, is just that we have not noticed it and we have been diverted by people who want us to believe whatever is there basically selling us. but if you pass by the color purple in the field and do not even notice it, why should even
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be here on the planet? you should notice what is here because it is wonderful an amazing unless you back by its beauty and fragrance or however it can love you back. >> how to that title come to you? >> was writing a novel, and lived way in the country in california and went walking to the redwoods and swimming in the river and noticed in nature, purple is everywhere. it is interesting because we tend to think that in nature, you would see more red, yellow, white, all of those colors. actually, purple is right there. in that sense, it is like the people in the novel. you think they are unusual, that what is happening to them is unusual, but actually, it is happening somewhere on your block almost every minute. all the trouble, trials and tribulations of celie are happening to people all over the planet right now. >> so this book cannot 30 years ago. >> it did.
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>> talk about how it changed your life. what have you been doing before and what happened after? >> i live a very secluded life, and a very meditative life. that is ideal. the notoriety of "the color purple," caused me to feel much more exposed and that many more demands. when this happens, i did not even have an assistant to help me do anything. i would handle all of my affairs, including my taxes, by myself. when all this happened, a lot of mail and stuff came to my house and i just put it in a room and closed the door on it for many months until i realized i could not do that and got someone to help me. some of the things are good, but
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most of the things are very good, but i think the kind of fame that happens in america is very destructive. unless you can fortify yourself i would ever practiced you confine -- meditation help meet a lot. >> the pulitzer prize for a first african american woman to win it for fiction read how did you feel? >> i was living in san francisco and i thought it was a joke but i had won the national book award i think the week before and someone said there was a collector, which i did not know existed for fiction. it was nice. i have this thing about prizes. i am suspicious of them. i think also they should be delivered to you, brought to your door with flowers and maybe with a violin playing, but they should never have to leave home to get an award. >> we will take a break and come
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back to this discussion. we're talking the legendary author alice walker. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the road in washington, d.c., on our 100-city election 2012 tour, headed to charlottesville, virginia. our guest is the author, activist, the artist alice walker. 30 years ago, her book "the color purple," came out. in this clip of the film made by steven spielberg, the character sofia played but oprah winfrey defies miss millie, the wife of the town's mayor, by telling her
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she won't be her maid. >> children are so clean. would you like to work for may, the mine made? >> hell no. >> what did you say? >> hell no. >> what did she say? crude a you pump your little faster? >> what did you say to miss millie? >> i said, hell -- >> no, miss sophia, no!
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't believe you didou di that. >> get my children out of here! [yelling] >> who do you think you are, you fat nigg >> help me! >> alice walker, describe what happened to sofia as she has told the mayors what she would not work for her as a maid, what the mayor did. >> the mayor basically assaults her. she ends up being made after all because in that time, there something called contract labor.
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so if you really wanted a black person to be a servant, you could have them arrested. then they could be released into your care. basically, your service. and your personal prisoner. this is what happened to sofia. >> what happened when steven spielberg approached you? did you know him? what's not at all. i had never heard of him. my daughter took me to see 'e.t.," so i could prepare. when i met him, he was very open. he very much wanted to do this film. we collaborated as much as possible. i think we both feel very pleased, although, in the beginning i did not like the film of. it felt so outlandish. it is very weird having a book of yours being made into film rid of a thing looks like a cartoon. but i got used to it. when i sought in the theater --
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the first time, there were only three people. me, my partner, and a friend. a huge theater they had hired just to show me the film. it was strange. >> it was nominated for 11 -- >> 11. >> oscars. but it did not win any. >> and i felt fine about it. i did not know anything about the people who decided not to give the film and award. i distrust this part of it. it is better if you know the people who are deciding something so important. for instance, the real people of color making the decision. and i don't think any women of any shade. >> and then became a musical in new york. >> yes, it became a really wonderful musical. some of the things i wanted more were able to putfilm, we
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in the musical critics such as? what's the relationship between celie and shug. >> they fall in love with each other. celie is enamored of shug, even before she meets her breed she sees a photograph that mr. has spurred mr. is shug's lover and a father of some of her children. that long-term love affair. -- they have a long-term love affair. celie has never been loved by anyone except her sister nettie, who ends up being sent to africa. the relationship they have really develops celie's sense of herself as a real person instead of a drudge. >> the world has seen this movie and read your book, people all over the world. what is the response internationally? how do people talk about this as a global story?
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>> everybody seems to understand it is a global story. i was talking yesterday to people in georgetown -- george mason university, about how when i went to china in 1983, just after the book was published, it was already a best seller in china. they did not tell me about it, but it was. i said, "why do people respond so deeply to this novel?" this said, "alice, it is a very chinese story because of the oppression of women is global, not just in the black community." i felt badly that many black people i think felt that i was saying that it was our problem. but i think nowadays -- >> [indiscernible] >> the critics. but i think people understand how the abuse of children in suppression of women, all of these things are global issues. >> but you have refused to have
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your book translated into hebrew for an israeli publisher. can you talk about your decision and who the publisher was? >> yes. actually, it was already published their in 1980- something. at that time, there's no cultural boycott of israel for its apartheid practices and its persecution of palestinian people. another is a boycott, so i respect that boycott in the same way i respected the boycott when there was apartheid in south africa. we were contemplating sending the film there and i lobbied against it. >> talk about the parallels teammate. >> apartheid ones? first of all in israel and the occupied territories, there is this gigantic wall which i think
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is the most offensive symbol of the apartheid. it that only segregates the palestinians from the israelis, but the same time, they have stolen some of palestinian land. they essentially have stolen what was all of palestine. and it is just horrible to see the treatment of the people. the checkpoints are dreadful. we went through some of them. and the way the palestinians are treated is so reminiscent of the way black people were treated in the south when i was growing up. it is an intolerable situation and that our country backs mr. mumbai standing with israel through thick and thin is just unbearable -- >> i want to turn to a clip of archbishop desmond tutu talking about apartheid, talking about south africa, and talking about
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israel. >> coming from south africa and looking at the checkpoints and the arrogance of those young soldiers, probably scared, may be covering up the apprehension -- there is no way [indiscernible] it reminds me of the kind of experiences that we underwent. i was bishop of johannesburg and would be driving from town to where we lived, and would be driving with my wife, and the fact of our having to have
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passes allowing us to move freely in the land of our birth. and now you have that extraordinary structure, the wall. i myself do not believe it has improved security. breaking up families, breaking the people who used to be able to walk from their homes to school -- children -- now have to take a detour. when you humiliate a people to the extent they are being, and, yes, one remembers the kind of
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experience we had when we were being humiliated, when you do that, you are not -- you are not contributing to your own security. >> retards of african archbishop desmond tutu, alice walker, your response? >> i am very happy that desmond tutu speaks out on this issue because so many people are afraid to speak out at all. i think is very dangerous. i think wherever there is this kind of repression, where every see people who are being humiliated, it is our duty as human beings and citizens of the planet to speak. that is all we can do, speak at least. >> you were in gaza. our producer anjali kamat and 2009 interview do what you were there. i want to play a clip of that.
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>> it is shocking beyond anything i have ever experienced, and it is actually so horrible that is basically an unbelievable, even though i am standing here and had been walking here, and looking at things here, it still feels like you could never convince anyone that this is actually what is happening and what has happened to these people, and what the israeli government has done. it will be a very difficult thing for anyone to actually believe in it. it is totally important that people come to visit and see for themselves, because the world community that cares about truth and justice will have to find a way to deal with this. we cannot let this go as if it is just ok, especially those of us in the united states to pay for this. i have come here and part to see
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what i am buying with my tax money. >> that was a pulitzer prize winning author alice walker in gaza in 2009 group last summer, she is one of the activists on the u.s. ships that attempted to sail to gaza as part of the freedom flotilla aimed at challenging israel's embargo of the gaza strip. dubbed "the audacity of hope" after president, in his best- selling book, the u.s. ship was stopped by greek authorities just as it set sail. alice walker spoke to producer aaron mate from the ship as it was turned back. >> it feels good to know that there are people on this earth to care about the people of gaza so much that we all got out of our houses and into our various cars and planes and made it to this boat, and actually tried to cross the water to get to the people of gaza, especially to the children who need to know the world is here in the world cares and the world sees.
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and that a lot of us love them rid we do not agree they should be brutalized and harmed. >> that was alice walker speaking on the freedom flotilla. she is now serving on the jury of the racial tribunal on palestine -- russell tribunal and palestine, to bring attention to this responsibility other states bear for israel's violation of international law. the russell tribunal will be holding its fourth international session in new york on october 6. you are going to be there. >> i will be there, yes, with some wonderful people including angela davis, cynthia mckinney, lots of wonderful -- michael mansfield -- a lot of good people. >> noam chomsky. and what we do? >> we will hear testimony about why it is nothing seems to move. the u. n. mex resolutions and they are ignored.
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there are some any resolutions. when a particularly hands my heart is revolution 194. i think that is the number. it says to israel that you cannot keep the palestinians who were forced out of their homes, you cannot prevent them from returning. i am such a believer that people need to have a place to live that is theirs, that they should never be run out of their own place. and if they are, they should be able to return. and this, with some any other resolutions, was ignored and never has been addressed. and the united states is complicit because it backs is from a matter what. i think this is corrupting, especially for our young people to see, that justice in this case is never even thought about. >> you make comparisons to the south
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>> my family was a poor farming family and we lived under absolute segregation. although, even though the hotels and motels and restaurants and the water fountains -- all those things are segregated -- but we did not have segregated roads, which you do have in the occupied territories. roads that only jewish settlers can use and palestinians have these tracks, these little paths obstructed by boulders. and that is how they are supposed to move around for the most part. in the and fairness of its is so much like -- and the unfairness of it is so much like the south, 50 years ago, really, and more brittle because in palestine, selling more people are wounded, shot, killed, in prisons. there are thousands of palestinians in prison virtually for no reason. >> to phyllite public opinion is
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changing in the u.s.? >> i do feel public opinion is changing and that is i think because people have decided we are all in such danger, all in harm's way. people are awakening to the fact unless we take care of each other, nobody is safe. there will never be safety. >> alice walker, we're going to take a break. then i would ask you about your thoughts on president obama, the election, and i would like to ask you to read your latest poll of. alice walker is with us for the hour. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we're on the road in washington, d.c..
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we're on our 100-city 2012 to wear. we're joined for the hour here in washington by alice walker, the pulitzer prize-winning author, at this year is the 30th anniversary of her momentous -- this is the 30 anniversary of her momentous "the color purple." she is reading from the book at george mason, speaking to the audience. we are in the nation's capital. the present lives not far from here, alice walker. -- the president lives not far from here, alice walker. i remember sitting with you at his inauguration in 2008, the first african-american president. you have written a poem in this election year. i was wondering if he would share it with us. >> i would like to. it is dedicated to maathai.
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she resolved to bring the earth back to life with trees. you ask me why i smile when you tell me you intend in the coming national elections to hold your nose evils. there are more than two evils out there, is one reason i smile. another is that our old buddy nostradamus comes to mind, with his dreadful 400 year old prophecy: that our world and theirs too (our "enemies" - lots of kids included here) will end (by nuclear nakba or holocaust) in our lifetime. which makes the idea of elections and the billions of dollars
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wasted on them somewhat fatuous. a southerner of color, my people held the vote very dear while others, for centuries, merely appeared to play with it. one thing i can assure you of is this: i will never betray such pure hearts by voting for evil even if it were microscopic which, as you can see in any newscast no matter the slant, it is not. i want something else; a different system entirely. one not seen on this earth for thousands of years. if ever. democratic womanism. notice how this word has "man" right in the middle of it? that's one reason i like it. he is there, front and center. but he is surrounded.
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i want to vote and work for a way of life that honors the feminine; a way that acknowledges the theft of the wisdom female and dark mother leadership might have provided our spaceship all along. i am not thinking of a talking head kind of gal: happy to be mixing it up with the baddest bad boys on the planet her eyes a slit her mouth a zipper. no, i am speaking of true regime change. where women rise to take their place en masse at the helm of earth's frail and failing ship; where each thousand years of our silence is examined with regret, and the cruel manner in which our values of compassion and kindness have been ridiculed and suppressed
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brought to bear on the disaster of the present time. the past must be examined closely, i believe, before we can leave it there. i am thinking of democratic, and, perhaps socialist, womanism. for who else knows so deeply how to share but mothers and grandmothers? big sisters and aunts? to love and adore both female and male? not to mention those in between. to work at keeping the entire community fed, educated and safe? democratic womanism, democratic socialist womanism, would have as its icons such fierce warriors for good as vandana shiva aung san suu kyi, wangari maathai harriet tubman yoko ono
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frida kahlo angela davis & barbara lee: with new ones always rising, wherever you look. recent writers for instance: you're also on this list that it must up or be unable to finish. just know i've stood you in a circle that includes happy to be surrounded. there is no system, there is no system now in place that can change the disastrous course the
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earth is on. who can doubt this? the male leaders of earth appear to have abandoned the most appear to live now entirely in their heads. they murder humans and other animals forests and rivers and mountains every day they are in office and never seem to notice it. they eat and drink devastation. women of the world, is this devastation us? what we kill whole continents for oil or anything else rather than limit the number of consumer offspring we produce and learn how to make our own fire? democratic womanism. democratic socialist womanism. a system of governance we can dream and imagine and build together.
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one that recognizes at least 6000 years of brutally enforced complicity six dozen years ahead of us when we will not submit what will we need? a hundred years a least a plan. 500 will be handed us gladly when the planet is scared enough to which the circles of women meet, organize ourselves, and, allied with men brave enough to stand with women, men brave enough to stand with lemon, nurture our planet to a degree of health. and without apology the low- impossible to make a bigger mess than has been made already -- devote ourselves, heedless of opposition, to tirelessly serving and resuscitating our mother ship and with gratitude
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for her care of us were shipped -- were shippedfully commit to rehabilitating it. >> alice walker, what are your thoughts on what should happen in november? what should happen is that everyone should make the very best choice based on their own values. and that is recognizing there is so much evil everywhere we look. still, choose what you think is best for our course of action. but have i thought about the long-term survivability of the planet, and start to put the help of the planet before everything else and then have leadership that reflects that. >> what are your thoughts on president obama today? >> i continue to care for
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president obama and for his family. i think in many ways they are very courageous people, and i honor that. i know it means to live as a black person in a racist america. but i cannot feel good about drone strikes, i cannot tell good about bombing people. and just do not believe in war. i think he is so smart that it is a waste of this intelligence to pursue peace by making more war. it is not make sense. >> on this 30th anniversary of "the color purple," your final thoughts? >> i think life is abundant. life is beautiful. it is a good place where all in on this earth if we take good care of it. if we could just turn to our inner guide rather than the outer side -- we would be
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better off. >> and the books you're working on now? >> and two that will be out in the spring. one is a book of poems called "the world will follow joy: turning madness in deflowers." >> thank you, alice walker, for being with us this hour. and not so long ago, after the killing of trayvon martin, talking about a woman who did not live far from and died not far from where trayvon martin was killed, whose gravestone you have now refurbished to put her in the eye of this country, to remind us of who this great author was. >> yes, thank you. >> thank you so much. that does it for "democracy now!"
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i want to encourage people "harvest of empire" the film based on juan gonzalez's book is opening at the quad cinema and in pasadena, california. go to democracynow.org for my details. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] tonight i will be in charlotteville, virginia, at 7 pm in the nau (now) auditorium, south lawn commons university of virginia, then on saturday at 1 pm at the green festival in washington dc, the baltimore book festival at 7 pm, and on sunday at noon in richmond, virginia at at 7 pm in norfolk virginia, wrapping up our virginia leg of the tour at virginia tech in blacksburg on monday night, before heading to denver for the first presidential debate.
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